Apple Watch users complain of inaccurate heart rate readings during certain exercises

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 60
    You're wearing it wrong.
  • Reply 22 of 60
    Let me clarify some points.

    The tech in Apple Watch to read heart rate is the same exact tech we use in hospitals to check heart rates. As a doctor I work with these technologies often. They are not 100% accurate. In certain circumstances they become less accurate such as frequent moving. They need to form a "pleth" to be accurate which Apple Watch calculates automatically I'm sure. Any interruption of continuous contact such as vigorous exercise with the arm you're wearing it on will create temporary inaccuracies.

    That being said, compared with other smart bands which use a tactile sensor Apple Watch is significantly more accurate, virtually always in substantial ways. Chest straps will always be the gold standard of non-invasive heart rate monitoring. Though is also not 100%. The only 100% accurate heart rate measurement is sticking a catheter into the hear to measure directly when it contracts. This is only necessary for intensive care patients on the brink of death.

    No Apple Watch is not 100% accurate. Yes Apple Watch is more accurate than any other sports band on the market by significant strides. Unless you've got a wrist tattoo.
  • Reply 23 of 60
    sandorsandor Posts: 654member

    my Basis Peak has the same issues. Some activities i cannot get a good heart rate reading during. Hence why when i am actually training, i still wear a chest strap.

     

    The one thing i noticed with the Peak (which uses optical sensors as well) is that my arm hair & the tightness of the band make huge differences in the stability of the heart rate.

     

    In terms of the actual article - going from 140 PM to 80 BPM in an interval training rep vs. rest period seems about right for some people (i do my long & low training @ 150 BPM (or about 75% of max HR) - your heart rate should drop precipitously when you stop exertion, and faster & farther the better trained your cardiovascular system is.

     

     

    Unless your max heart rate is 175 BPM, you should be pushing much harder than 140 BPM for high intensity intervals. (long & low is usually about 75% max HR, intervals usually 85% max HR). but that is a whole other discussion re: exercise physiology.

  • Reply 24 of 60
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 746member
    Let's hope that the sensors in their upcoming car are a little more accurate.
  • Reply 25 of 60
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member

    I have nothing to compare it to and only check the bpm readings sporadically.

    What I'm still mystified by is the 'movement' calibration (outer ring) in the activity app. Even on days when I've done more than doubled my 'exercise' goal (60 minutes+), the 'movement' has never made it one full completed ring. I'm not even sure what its supposed to be measuring. I had assumed that it was less strenuous movement, but I get a fair amount of that ...

    I do enjoy the little incentive that the activity tracker provides. I think that they did a bang-up job with the graphics on that. 

    You're probably moving too much to be considered "movement". If your heart rate is elevated or there is too much movement, it's counted as exercise even if you do not specify an exercise and if you move sporadically once an hour it falls under the "standing" ring. Movement is between those two so it's actually the hardest to fill because there is no clear delineation as o what constitutes movement.
  • Reply 26 of 60
    Thank you appleinsider for brining this issue to light. I am an avid athlete and find the heart rate sensor to be okay for endurance exercises like running, walking, and biking, but the system is not capable of handling rapid changes in heart rate. When weight training my heart rate rapidly increases from resting level to about 170 BPM. The Apple Watch simply fails to track that change and either gives the annoying dimmed out measuring notice, or worse displays my heart rate at 1/3 or 1/4 the actual value. This is clearly a software issue that could be fixed if they put the effort it. It has to do with the algorithm they use to decode raw sensor data into heart rate.
  • Reply 27 of 60
    For me, the built-in sensor works great for "casual" readings--daily-to-day activities, light workouts, etc. For my "real" workouts (interval runs, weights), it has never been accurate and/or reactive enough.

    I use a Polar H7 Bluetooth EKG-based strap. I went through months of frustration with it, since the watch would drop connection to it mid-work out and would not re-acquire without rebooting the watch. I have since solved that problem--turning bluetooth off on my phone during workouts. I leave my phone in my locker during workouts. It seems the watch tries so hard to communicate with the phone over over a weak BT connection that it drops the watch.

    Now, I finally have a reliable set up that works well in my situation. Having to use a third-party strap is not ideal, but it's workable.
  • Reply 28 of 60
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    This was known from the start. People seriously using the device indicated this right away.
    This is easy to fix by using a Bluetooth LE heartrate belt, works like a charm even under extreme conditions (I can attest to).
  • Reply 29 of 60
    A thread on Apple's Support Communities forum <a href="https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7048325?tstart=0">has received</a> more than 3,000 views and 17 replies,

    oh jesus. get back to us when it's got hundreds of replies.

    when doing cardio on a machine I often compare watch reading against the machine's reading and they're usually near identical.
  • Reply 30 of 60
    It's easy to test this out. Use a chest strap AND an optical wrist sensor (I used the Mio watch....same tech) and go for a workout.

    The wrist mounted optical sensors are NOT accurate if you are using your hands. Weight lifting, boxing, paddleboarding, etc. They are slow to notice changes in HR as you vary your intensity level and they often return a considerably lower HR than a chest strap sensor.

    As they currently function, the wrist based optical sensors are unsuitable for tracking heart rate during high intensity workouts (especially when using your hands).
  • Reply 31 of 60
    bobschlob wrote: »
    "several Apple Watch owners…"

    "Several"? Did they say "several"?

    Several means less then a lot but more then a few.
  • Reply 32 of 60
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sandor View Post

     

    my Basis Peak has the same issues. Some activities i cannot get a good heart rate reading during. Hence why when i am actually training, i still wear a chest strap.

     

    The one thing i noticed with the Peak (which uses optical sensors as well) is that my arm hair & the tightness of the band make huge differences in the stability of the heart rate.

     

    In terms of the actual article - going from 140 PM to 80 BPM in an interval training rep vs. rest period seems about right for some people (i do my long & low training @ 150 BPM (or about 75% of max HR) - your heart rate should drop precipitously when you stop exertion, and faster & farther the better trained your cardiovascular system is.

     

     

    Unless your max heart rate is 175 BPM, you should be pushing much harder than 140 BPM for high intensity intervals. (long & low is usually about 75% max HR, intervals usually 85% max HR). but that is a whole other discussion re: exercise physiology.


     

    Around 1987, when I was trying to get on the Canadian national junior track team, my maxes I had doing extremely hard exercises was around 210.... as calculated on the wrist counting it up (so margin of error was  off course high ;-), by I always got around the same result so I knew I was close) . I was 19 at the time and supremly fit. 

     

    I always find the way people obsess about extreme precision in their measurements, unless your running a study, it shoudn't really matter.

    General trends matter. How you feel when you train matters.

     

    If you always have to look if inside a range, you're not listening to your body; learn to feel it. Go harder days when your body tells you you can, go slower when you're tired. Our body is the best sensor.

     

    The difference between an amateur and expert is that ability to feel what's right an ajust accordingly

  • Reply 33 of 60
    iobserve wrote: »
    The only 100% accurate heart rate measurement is sticking a catheter into the hear to measure directly when it contracts. This is only necessary for intensive care patients on the brink of death.

    Where is the "hear" on a person, is it close to the taint?
  • Reply 34 of 60
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    iobserve wrote: »
    The only 100% accurate heart rate measurement is sticking a catheter into the hear to measure directly when it contracts. This is only necessary for intensive care patients on the brink of death.

    Where is the "hear" on a person, is it close to the taint?

    Don't you know nothing? Hear is the present tense of heart. :lol:
  • Reply 35 of 60
    I could've told you this back in April. Go to the gym, do some bench presses, while you're still lying down look at the heartrate on the Watch with your arms over your head: it'll be very low, say 50 bpm. Stand up and look at it again with your arm level to the ground: it'll read again at the correct rate, much higher, say 110 bpm. Very uneven readings all round from this first Gen device. Ho hum…
  • Reply 36 of 60
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    foggyhill wrote: »
    Around 1987, when I was trying to get on the Canadian national junior track team, my maxes I had doing extremely hard exercises was around 210.... as calculated on the wrist counting it up (so margin of error was  off course high ;-), by I always got around the same result so I knew I was close) . I was 19 at the time and supremly fit. 

    I always find the way people obsess about extreme precision in their measurements, unless your running a study, it shoudn't really matter.
    General trends matter. How you feel when you train matters.

    If you always have to look if inside a range, you're not listening to your body; learn to feel it. Go harder days when your body tells you you can, go slower when you're tired. Our body is the best sensor.

    The difference between an amateur and expert is that ability to feel what's right an ajust accordingly

    Very true.
    I found out that using a heart rate sensor was very 'instrumental' in 'getting a feel' for my heart rate.
    And that's very useful when running in competition.
    Although I must say that it was even more helpful when cycling, because running is very unforgiving when you are 'in the red'.
  • Reply 37 of 60
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by aBeliefSystem View Post



    You're wearing it wrong.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    There has yet to be a clear explanation as to why certain users are experiencing difficulties with their Watch, though it has been speculated that variations in anatomy could be to blame.

    It's not that people are wearing it wrong, holding it wrong, or using it wrong.

     

    Their anatomy could be to blame. If that is indeed the case, then they are just born wrong. ;)

  • Reply 38 of 60
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    techlover wrote: »
    It's not that people are wearing it wrong, holding it wrong, or using it wrong.

    Their anatomy could be to blame. If that is indeed the case, then they are just born wrong. ;)

    Watches with build-in heart rate sensor at nothing new.
    I tried several of them in in 80's and 90's but to no avail.
    It just doesn't work.
  • Reply 39 of 60
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 321member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandor View Post

     

    my Basis Peak has the same issues. Some activities i cannot get a good heart rate reading during. Hence why when i am actually training, i still wear a chest strap.

     

    The one thing i noticed with the Peak (which uses optical sensors as well) is that my arm hair & the tightness of the band make huge differences in the stability of the heart rate.

     

    In terms of the actual article - going from 140 PM to 80 BPM in an interval training rep vs. rest period seems about right for some people (i do my long & low training @ 150 BPM (or about 75% of max HR) - your heart rate should drop precipitously when you stop exertion, and faster & farther the better trained your cardiovascular system is.

     

     

    Unless your max heart rate is 175 BPM, you should be pushing much harder than 140 BPM for high intensity intervals. (long & low is usually about 75% max HR, intervals usually 85% max HR). but that is a whole other discussion re: exercise physiology.


     

    I agree, 140bpm is almost universally in the aerobic range (not stressful) nearly everyone in reasonable health should be barely breathing heavy. I use a polar heart rate band (chest strap by one of the top companies in HRM with direct contact (over the heart electrodes) and during my high stress interval training (mountain biking) it can be erratic unless I use electrode gel on the skin under the pads (to make a sure electrical contact with the skin) this is true particularly in cool weather (heavy sweat on the chest makes the contact better. (Cyclists often lick the contact pads when putting on the monitoring strap to improve the pad to skin connection (as an alternative to electrode gel) I know, Eeewwww....;-)

     

    My point is; We need a little perspective, even with a direct contact (chest strap) HR monitor, readings can sometime be erratic (without gel or sweat wetted skin). That a dozen (or even several hundred) people have had some erratic readings from the AppleWatch is not "heartrategate".  Wear the watch snugly (so it's contact is consistent). The alternative (which again is still not 100% during extreme conditions) is a chest strap with electrode gel (but I can tell you from experience, is messy and a PITA.) The Apple watch appears to work well, very well, reading heart rate, and is by far (short of direct electrode connections over the heart) among the best available. 

  • Reply 40 of 60
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 321member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by knowitall View Post





    Watches with build-in heart rate sensor at nothing new.

    I tried several of them in in 80's and 90's but to no avail.

    It just doesn't work.



    Technology marches forward my friend, editing film in the 80's and 90's didn't work very well (and required massive work-arounds), but now you can easily edit 4K on a laptop, in real time.

    What other companies did (or couldn't do) in the 80's has little or nothing to do with the AppleWatch's HRM capabilities today (hardware and intelligence (enabled via processing) have vastly improved)

Sign In or Register to comment.